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Thu 6th May 2010

Health and Safety Matters

Health and safety rules are often lambasted by the public for their overbearing control on the day to day lives of most people. However IOSH (The Institute of Occupational Health and Safety) claim that 2 million people die every year across the world as a result of health and safety lapses and that in the European Union alone someone dies every 3.5 minutes for the same reason. You may not feel that in your line of work there is a likelihood of death through health and safety negligence but injuries can be sustained in the most mundane of situations. For example slips, trips and falls and improper lifting and carrying procedures are cited as the most common of office accidents. The employer or owner of business premises has a duty to ensure that they do not contravene health and safety regulations. If they are found to be at fault when an accident occurs then they are likely to face compensation claims.

The Sunday Telegraph recently conducted a survey of some of the main tourist attractions in the U.K. They found that in the last five years 24 organisations, including English Heritage and many museums, paid out £2,149,345 in compensation. Many of the incidents seem to involve individuals that lack common sense, but people are not compelled to take responsibility for their own mistakes where health and safety is concerned and huge pay outs can be awarded. For example a woman who trespassed at 2am in the moat at Carlisle Castle and hurt her pelvis and hip was awarded £15,000 plus her legal fees which amounted to £37,250. The Victoria and Albert Museum compensated a women who hurt her hip when she got hit by a revolving door at the entrance to the museum. She received £23,651 and her lawyers got £29,863.

The shocking disparity between legal fees and the amount awarded to claimants is an indication of who really wins in these disputes. In the majority of cases lawyers are awarded much more money than the claimant. Organisations say that they are being forced to close certain parts of attractions in order to avoid potential claims. All this indicates the necessity of being extremely cautious when it comes to health and safety.

The U.K. is the home to two of the leading Health and Safety Institutions, IOSH and NEBOSH (National Examination Board in Occupational Health and Safety). IOSH are the chartered body for health and safety professionals. They are a registered charity who are the voice of the profession...lobbying governments on policy and law. They find problems and then present solutions to them with the aim of furthering the prevalence of good health and safety procedures. They offer a range of IOSH courses, in particular the IOSH working safely, and IOSH managing safely courses. Both of these courses reflect governmental mandate on health and safety standards. NEBOSH are also a charitable organisation but have established their position as a global world leader. They have 30,000 candidates every year and†NEBOSH courses are†recognised by IOSH and other relevant organisations as providing a high standard of training. Both of these awarding bodies have globally recognised certifications offering a range of occupational health and safety courses.